Who pays for a new fence when the time comes?

We all have them. Some are great, others not so. They’re called neighbours. One of the most common questions I am asked is about who pays for what when it comes to a new fence. It can sometimes be a touchy subject with the neighbour, half the battle is choosing the colour and then comes the style and then that dreaded conversation about cost.

Believe it or not, there is actually a piece of legislation on this. It’s called the Dividing Fences Act 1991 (NSW) – seems appropriate. The Act strategically sets out the process about how to go about getting some $$ out of your grumpy neighbour.

The Act says this:

  • Each adjoining owner is liable to contribute in equal proportions (there are some exceptions to this).
  • To seek a contribution from your neighbour, you need to serve a notice in writing outlining:

a. The boundary line on which the work is to be carried out;

b. The type of fencing proposed; and  

c. The estimated costs of such fencing.

  • If an agreement is not reached in the first instance, you and your neighbour can attend a Community Justice Centre for an informal mediation.
  • If within one month after serving your notice, your neighbour still resists, you can apply to the Local Court or NCAT for a determination.

So, before you have that conversation with your neighbour, be armed with the right legal knowledge before you face any kickback.

This is general advice only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. If you need specific advice catered for your needs (other than colour or style!) then call in at PDL for a consultation.

Photo by Yulia Matvienko on Unsplash

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